Archive for Galanthus ‘Xmas’

The 2019 Snowdrop Season Part One

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2019 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ extends her wings.  It has taken me eight years to produce a photo that captures the elegance of this snowdrop.

The heart of the snowdrop season is upon us, and there is nothing I like better than roaming around our garden photographing my collection.  Taking photos forces you to view each snowdrop close up and really focus on the differences that make each one so special.  My snowdrop photographs are frequently praised, and people always ask what camera I use.  But what makes my photos great is not fancy equipment, but knowing the plants intimately and capturing their unique beauty.  One photo here can be preceded by years of attempts to get on film what I know is there.  Here are some of my other recent captures:

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

 

I took this photo of ‘South Hayes’ at the 2017 Royal Horticultural Society February Spring Show at Vincent Square in London.  It was part of the Avon Bulbs display, which Michael and I helped to set up.  I am very honored that John Morley of North Green Snowdrops in Beccles, England, thought the photo was so good that he used it on the cover of his 2019 Catalogue.  You can view his catalogue here.  When I was profiled in Naomi Slade’s book The Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops, I chose ‘South Hayes’ as my utopia snowdrop.  I highly recommend Naomi’s book for gardeners who want to expand their knowledge of snowdrops beyond the basic forms.  It is available on Amazon here.

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‘Xmas’ was named at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens for its vigor, bloom time around Christmas, and prominent X mark.  I have over 60 photos of this snowdrop saved on my computer (and those are the ones I saved!) and think this is one of the best.  Snowdrops look wonderful on sunny days with blue sky in the background, but it is very difficult to photograph their best angle then without casting shadows, capturing glare, or having something distracting in the background.

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Another recent shot of ‘Xmas’.  I was thrilled that ‘Xmas’ was included in the newly published second edition of Freda Cox’s book A Gardener’s Guide to Snowdrops and listed as one of only five notable snowdrops selected in the US.  I highly recommend Freda’s book, which is the most up-to-date encyclopedic snowdrop reference work with profiles and beautiful drawings of over 2,000 snowdrops.  It is available on Amazon here.

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Yellow snowdrops like ‘Wendy’s Gold are all the rage and rightly so, but it is difficult to capture them looking yellow.  They require sunshine, which has been in short supply this winter, to bring out their yellow color and, in the shade, they look olive.

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The simple beauty of ‘Robin Hood’ is enhanced for me by the history of the cultivar.  One of the primary reasons that I am obsessed with snowdrops is that almost every cultivar has a story attached.  ‘Robin Hood’ was selected in the later 1800s by James Allen of Shepton Mallet in England, who also selected the iconic cultivars ‘Magnet’ and ‘Galatea’.  The newly published book The Galanthophiles by Jane Kilpatrick and Jennifer Harmer devotes an entire chapter to Allen whom they call the greatest of all galanthophiles.  This wonderful book is available on Amazon here.

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‘Welshway’ is a petite beauty and treasured all-the-more by me for the memories it evokes.  The British snowdrop world is a small and welcoming place.  When Michael and I traveled to England in February 2017 and 2018, we were invited into the homes and gardens of people whom we had never met due to the longstanding English tradition of garden hospitality.  We visited the garden of Hugh and Hilary Purkess called Welshway Cottage for a wonderful tour and delicious tea and cake.  ‘Welshway’ came from the Purkess’s garden.

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‘Trymming’ was selected in 2007 by my friend the internationally famous snowdrop expert Alan Street at Avon Bulbs in England.  This photo captures ‘Trymming’s’ bold and bright green splashed outer segments and its ability to produce two scapes when well grown.  I had to move it a few times to get it to do that!

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Although I welcome them, snowdrop seedlings are rare in my garden.  However, this big beauty recently appeared right in the middle of a large patch of ‘Straffan’.

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‘Standing Tall’ is another notable American snowdrop profiled in the Cox book.  It was selected in 2013 by my friend and snowdrop mentor Charles Cresson after 25 years of evaluation—he just wanted to be sure it was worth naming!!!  ‘Standing Tall’ blooms in mid-December and grows to be one of the tallest snowdrops in my garden.

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Galanthus rizehensis is a relatively unknown species snowdrop with a small and perky stature and very dark green leaves.  It will be in our 2020 catalogue.

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This photo sent to me by my customer Tim Calkins really captures the petite beauty of Galanthus rizehensis, which he purchased from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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‘Richard Ayres’ is one of my favorite snowdrops due to its vigor, exquisite beauty, and early bloom time.  To capture the beauty of double snowdrops, you must photograph them at an angle that includes the outside and inside at the same time.  This involves some very awkward camera positions and body contortions.  After many years and dozens of attempts, I am happy with this photo.

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‘Richard Ayres’ also looks lovely photographed from the top.

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The charms of ‘Lapwing’ also proved hard to get onto film until now, but that doesn’t mean I will not keep trying to do even better.

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Another favorite snowdrop, the stately ‘Kite’, featuring extra long and elegant outer segments.

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‘Kite’ is also known for producing two flowers on the same scape.  You can see this in the photo above where two flowers are attached by their pedicels (stems) to the same spathe.  They come out wrinkled from being crushed in together but usually straighten out.

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‘Anglesey Abbey’ is a unique snowdrop with bright green leaves instead of the usual blue-gray.  Although it is described as being almost poculiform and almost pure white, mine is pretty close if not perfect.  Poculiform means that the inner segments have been replaced by three additional outer segments of equal  length.

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The plump, upside down hot air balloon shape of ‘Diggory’ is recognizable anywhere but difficult to capture in a photo.  I am very happy with this one as it’s the fattest I have ever seen it.

If you have snowdrops or other winter-blooming plants, I encourage you to visit them regularly with your camera and expand your enjoyment of your garden into the winter months.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and cell number (for back up contact use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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Just Relax and Enjoy the Flowers

Posted in bulbs for shade, Camellias, hellebores, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Helleborus niger 'Praecox'Even though praecox means developing early, ‘Praecox’ Christmas rose hellebore is one of the main season varieties that bloom later in January or February.  Here it is in mid-December.

Like much of the country, southeastern Pennsylvania, US, zone 6 to 7, has had unseasonably warm weather for weeks.  There has been no snow, the ground has not frozen, we have only had 2 or 3 real frosts, not enough to set back the acanthus, and it was 70 degrees F on Christmas Day.  It has also been raining for most of two weeks.  Quite a change from the last two falls when it got cold in October and stayed that way.  In 2013 to 2014, we experienced record snowfalls.  In 2014 to 2015, there was not much snow but record low temperatures.

Nursery News: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Camellia x 'Winter's Joy'‘Winter’s Joy’ fall-blooming camellia is not blooming early but instead continuing to bloom beyond when its flowers and buds would usually be frozen and done.  It started in October and is about to enter its fourth month.

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Should we be worried?  As Mark Rylance, playing a Soviet espionage agent accused of treason, says in “Bridge of Spies”, would it help?  Lots of attention needs to be paid to the very serious issue of climate change and what the US in particular can or should do in the face of the incontrovertible evidence of evolutionary temperature changes occurring at faster than evolutionary speeds.  But worrying about the plants in our gardens and neighborhoods won’t accomplish much.  We can’t control the weather so just relax and enjoy the early flowers.  My friend John Lonsdale who is originally from England tells me that if we lived there, this would all be completely normal—the weather and the bloom times.  Here is what is early in my garden:

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Jasminum nudiflorumWinter jasmine usually sends out a few flowers through out the winter whenever it gets warm.  The whole shrub is in bloom now with not many buds left for later.

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Galanthus 'Xmas' elwesiiThe giant snowdrop ‘Xmas’ does open flowers by Christmas, but right now the whole patch is in bloom and starting to go by.  Last year I had flowers through March.

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Galanthus 'Standing Tall' elwesiiThe giant snowdrop ‘Standing Tall’ also opens its buds around Christmas.  It was so early this year that its flowers are now completely done.

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Pulmonaria rubra 'Redstart'February-blooming ‘Redstart’ pulmonaria or lungwort is in full flower all through my gardens.

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Mahonia japonicaThe lovely, evergreen Japanese mahonia is a late winter bloomer but all my shrubs are in flower.

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‘Winter’s Song’, whose name has been inexplicably changed to ‘Joker’, is a Christmas rose cross that normally waits until late January or February.

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DSCN7294Double hybrid hellebores are generally a little later in my garden but this one looks gorgeous today.

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Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'How about this for a surprise?  On Christmas Day, ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ opened two flowers.  It is the earliest daffodil that I know of but that’s usually February.

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DSCN7296Highly fragrant winter-flowering honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is blooming.  It usually flowers slightly before forsythia.

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DSCN7292‘Blue Lady’ hybrid hellebore decided to put on an early show.

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DSCN7268My favorite hellebore form with the little ruffles inside (petaloid) didn’t disappoint me.

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Geum 'Cooky'Geum ‘Cooky’ has been flowering all fall.

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Galanthus 'Fly Fishing'One of my favorite snowdrops ‘Fly Fishing’ has been whipping around in all the rain and wind on its extra long, fishing line pedicel (flower stem).

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Edgeworthia chrysanthaNo open flowers yet, but the edgeworthia flower buds are swelling to form elegant silver tassels.

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Many people have asked me what will happen in the spring?  Most of the plants that are flowering now are using buds that they formed after they were done flowering last spring.  If every bud opens, they will not form new buds and will not bloom again.  My advice is to enjoy them now!

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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